Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Drug and Alcohol Awareness: Alcoholism Is a True Disease Process

If you do not accept that alcoholism is a true disease process, you will need believe something else instead. What is that? What do you believe it is, truly. Here are the facts from 30 years of working in this field. The only way to get an alcoholic quickly pointing toward treatment is to hold them responsible for getting treatment when their disease become evident. In other words, you blame them not for the disease or drinking again....but for not getting into treatment. When you make this shift, you succeed very quickly. Do you see with this belief paradigm how important accepting alcoholism as a diease is? It is a myth that "rock bottom" must come first. More often, fear is what prompts or facilitates alcoholics to accept help or treatment. In DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training, you hold powerful leverage in the workplace.


  • Fear of harm or death
  • Fear of job loss
  • Fear of losing a relationship
  • Fear of hurting someone
  • Fear of hitting rock bottom, whatever that might mean

The key to effectively managing troubled employees is understanding their fears and focusing on job performance issues such as absenteeism, behavior or quality of work to help both the workplace and employee.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Benefits of Constructive Confrontation for DOT Supervisors

Confrontation is the supervisor playing the appropriate role of confronting the employee with documented evidence of job performance problems and motivating the employee to use the EAP before disciplinary action becomes necessary. Constructive confrontation works because almost all employees are fearful of job loss. This confrontation is not the act of diagnosing the employee. Instead, the employee is referred to EAP solely upon job performance problems that may be ongoing. Although supervisors will be confronting employees, no discussion should be made of the possible alcohol or drug problem. If discussion arises the employee is referred to the EAP.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Drug and Alcohol Awareness: The Impact of Drug Screenings

Have you ever seriously wondered if an employee possibly has a drinking problem or are an alcoholic? This is one question that will help supervisors decide whether an employee needs a more complete evaluation to examine their alcohol use and to rule out the diagnosis. Even if the answer to the question is yes or no, supervisors should encourage employees to consider getting a screening to rule the diagnosis of alcoholism. The response to this question from social drinkers, those who drink but do not have alcoholism, may vary because they usually do not seriously consider this question.During the alcohol screening the employee  should expect to be interviewed and screened by  professional counselors to help them more closely examine their drinking experiences.Since denial is a roadblock to treatment, those who drink should participate in screenings to detect alcoholism like other chronic diseases.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Drug and Alcohol Awareness: Employees with High Tolerance

DOT supervisor training will train supervisors to become more aware of tolerance levels of alcoholism and drug addiction. One of the dangers of increasing tolerance of alcohol is consuming too much because the person does not feel alcohol's effects. When in social environments, others may urge this individual to do the driving because they're the one that "looks fine" at the end of the party. However, because of high tolerance, the individual could be the one with the higher blood alcohol content. Employees with high tolerance may think they are "lucky" for being "efficient drinkers" but eventually may unwillingly continue with this pattern for years as dependency and denial become increasingly severe which will effect both personal life and the workplace.

Friday, September 12, 2014

DOT Supervisor Training: Addiction and Quality of Work

Job Performance includes three things: Attendance and availability of the employee; quality of work produced; and, attitude and behavior on the job. Frequently supervisors may be aware of one or two key job performance problems, when in fact many more exist. A referral to the EAP, or to any other source of help, is aided by using as many objectively determined symptoms of job performance problems as can be identified. This is helped by using a list.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Effects of Addiction on Attendance in the Workplace

Attendance and availability are time-tested measures for identifying troubled employees and should be monitored by supervisors. Alcohol and drug addictions affect an employee's ability to get to work on time due to their uncontrollable effects. As a drug or alcohol problem worsens, employees will take greater liberties to be away from the worksite reasoning that it won't be noticed, won't matter, or that circumstances will minimize the obvious absence. Employees with alcohol and/or drug problems are absent three times more than other employees.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Drug and Alcohol Awareness: Understanding Alcoholism


Alcoholism is not a “will power” problem. It is not a character issue and it is not learned. Alcoholism is a recognized medical illness acquired by those susceptible to it, who begin drinking for the same reasons as most people do. Alcohol is a drug, and susceptibility to alcohol addiction has strong hereditary factors that have been extensively researched. Alcoholism is not an “equal opportunity” illness. Some people who drink will never experience problems with alcohol, while others will drink alcoholically almost immediately.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Stereotypes of Drug and Alcohol Addiction in the Workplace

Employees with alcoholism or drug addiction problems do not usually appear with stereotypical symptoms. Dark glasses, drunk on the job, disappearing in the bathroom, stealing money, wearing long sleeve shirts in the summer, or other popularized stereotypical behaviors are relatively rare. In DOT supervisor training, supervisors will recognize that employees with alcoholism or drug addiction problems eventually demonstrate their inability to keep their personal problem from interfering with job performance standards and understand that troubled employees are mostly identified by ongoing performance problems.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Drug and Alcohol Training: Occupations and Individuals that are Most Vulnerable to Alcoholism

Alcohol research demonstrates most people believe alcoholism to be a disease, however, this belief does not contribute easily to self-diagnosis because of denial. Most people attempt to define alcoholism by behaviors such as how much one drinks, when they drink or what they drink. In alcohol and drug training programs, supervisors will learn that some occupations are characterized by more frequent opportunity to use alcohol socially or without observation. This is why higher rates of alcoholism can be expected in workforces that are predominantly male, or positions such as traveling sale forces and the opportunity to tax one’s susceptibility increases risk and the speed of onset.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

When Employees Become Aware of Addiction

Learning how to address job performance with an employee that may be struggling with addiction is key in alcohol and drug awareness training. Most employees, by the time job performance is affected, have some unspoken awareness that alcohol or drugs plays some role in their personal problems. However, they are not self-diagnosed as addicts by this awareness and denial will become a survival tool to avoid the belief that abstinence or treatment is necessary. When the employee becomes aware of the addiction, dependency to relieve withdrawal symptoms (frequently mistaken as "stress and anxiety") is so strong that the thought of treatment creates enormous anxiety and fear for the addict.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

DOT Supervisor Training: Effectively Identifying Troubled Employees

DOT Supervisor training will help supervisors effectively manage troubled employees with alcoholism or drug addiction problems or any personal problems, which is to focus only on job performance issues like absenteeism, behavior, or quality of work. Avoiding discussions about whether an employee has a drug or alcohol problem and avoiding the need to decide what kind of personal problem exists, if any, results in more alcoholic and drug addicted employees being referred. The EAP staff will complete the assessment and determines the diagnosis.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Informal Approach to Substance Abuse in the Workplace

Type I is a soft approach and used by most companies with effective employee assistance programs. Some employees may accept an EAP referral with this approach and others will only think about it. Even a mandatory referral, as in DOT cases, represents a choice to get help over termination required under the federal law. The more severe the drinking or drug addiction problem, the less likely this soft approach works. However, it is good place to start with any employee.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Understanding Drug Tolerance

Drug and Alcohol Awareness Programs will help supervisors understand the behavioral differences between non–alcoholic and alcoholics, which are caused by the nervous system’s ability to tolerate larger quantities of alcohol and still function. Employees dealing with alcoholism may drink in the morning and hide alcohol in order to drink when needed, but without being seen or detected. There have been reports on recovering workers that admit to using Vodka as the drink of choice in their later years because the smell was least detectable. An example of a drug tolerance difference is blackouts, which demonstrate the nervous system’s adaption to alcohol. It is rare for a non-alcoholic to have a blackout because most social drinkers will pass out, fall asleep, or throw up before encountering a blackout.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Proper Confrontation with Employees Dealing with Addictions

DOT Training Programs will help supervisors take early action in response to addressing job performance problems, which increases the rate by which addicts are helped due to earlier referral to employee assistance programs. A history of strong contributions to the organization by the alcoholic or drug addict inhibits referrals to the EAP when problems emerge. The fear of job loss is a powerful motivator to consider treatment. This is why EAPs have worked so well in getting employees into treatment because this leverage is frequently more powerful than fear of family breakup for the alcoholic or addict.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Diagnosing Employees with Drug and Alcohol Addictions

Discussing an employee’s possible drinking or drug problem invites a discussion about what to do about it. Such employees with alcoholism or drug addiction problems may seek help from time to time, but is frequently the wrong help, misdirected, not professionally monitored, or improper and they will always seek help that least interferes with continued drinking. 

Understanding the supervisor is no match for a “one on one” with the alcoholic or addict should be addressed in DOT supervisor drug and alcohol training since this type of discussion could lead to the supervisor mistakenly diagnosing the employee that needs to seek professional help.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Enabling Employees with Addictions

As long as you are in a relationship with an alcoholic or drug addict, it will be very difficult not to enable. Enabling is something that people do who are in relationships with alcoholics or drug addicts so these could family, friends, and of course, coworkers. Enabling may be covering up for a coworker, protecting the coworker from consequences or letting your own drinking or drug use interfere with your decision to take a stand and deal directly with your employee's job performance problem.To help protect the workplace and the employee dealing with addiction, it's key to include characteristics of enabling in the alcohol and drug awareness training to insure enabling is not happening in the supervisors role.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cost of Substance Abuse in the Workplace



To help learners in DOT Supervisor Training programs, get concrete. A workforce with 300 employees will be comprised of about 18 alcoholic employees. They won't all be drunk on the job. Some will be in early stages of the disease, others will miss work frequently on Mondays, Friday's and the day after payday. These employees average approximately 75% their efficiency level. This means that there is a 25% loss of productivity. This includes higher costs associated with accidents, insurance, property damage, theft, sick leave, and fringe benefits use and abuse.

Preview our DOT Reasonable Suspicion Training Course to Meet the Two Hour Supervisor Training Mandate

Monday, August 25, 2014

Problems in the Workplace Caused by Denial of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction

Denial is a defense mechanism that works hand-in-hand with myths and misconceptions about addiction. Denial is used to avoid awareness and is reinforced by others who are willing to participate in it. Alcohol or drug addicts with job problems who are in denial about their addiction are often convinced that other problems cause their job performance shortcomings. Such employees are able to convince the supervisor that these other problems are primary. Make sure that your DOT training includes a guide that helps supervisors identify denial tactics employees use to cover alcohol and drug addictions, which in turn will help improve job performance and point employees struggling with addiction in the right direction.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Workplace Problems Often Linked to Drug and Alcohol Abuse Off the Job

Alcoholism/Drug Addiction is always first to be treated in the presence of other personal problems. Often the problems are directly caused by the primary health care problem--addiction. DOT supervisors normally will become aware of a variety of personal problems long before obvious alcohol or drug problems are observed.  These are often symptoms of the alcohol or drug problem, but are mistakenly believed to be causes rather than symptoms. This can keep supervisors baffled and postponing a drug or alcohol test. Indeed problems may contribute to this disease but other problems do not cause alcoholism and drug addiction.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Cocaine on the Job: What Will You See (Probably Not Much to Trigger a DOT Drug and Alcohol Mandatory Test)

Employees may use cocaine, but the truth--it is not a drug that sticks around very long in the body making it detectable like Marijuana (which may linger in the fat tissue or urine for up to 30 days). A DOT drug test of a late night employee, perhaps someone who came on the graveyard shift after partying with other drug using friends, may be a candidate for a reasonable suspicion drug test, but it is unlikely Cocaine will prompt reasonable suspicion. It is more likely to be hyperactivity, possible intoxication on the job due to alcohol use, which  has more behavioral signs and symptoms that will trigger the request.

Cocaine was first used as an anesthetic in eye surgery in the 1880's.  It constricts blood vessels while
providing a topical anesthetic.  Softer drugs eventually made it obsolete.  Novocaine was one such drug.  Cocaine is often diluted with a variety of substances before being sold.  This could be almost any inert white powdery substance. Not a good thing for Cocaine users to be sure.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Be cautious when doing DOT Drug and Alcohol Training: Avoid This Classic Mistake

DOT Supervisor Training and Awareness program is not designed to teach supervisors how to diagnose alcoholism or drug addiction. You will provide supervisors with information necessary to increase awareness about troubled employee behaviors and help supervisors avoid mismanagement of employees who may have alcohol or drug problems overtly displayed or completely unrecognized. Yes, signs and symptoms are important, but a long list of troubled employee behaviors in many cases may be even more important.